Studying journalism at Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield Hallam
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Applying for university can be a stressful and emotional process. Which course do you want to do? Where do you want to do it? Is it a good nightlife destination? How much can you trust the league tables? So many questions, sometimes so few answers. Josh Chapman, a third-year journalism student at Sheffield Hallam University, lifts the lid on his university experience.

“We don’t want mute pictures!”

That phrase is etched into Sheffield Hallam journalism folklore. I’m pretty sure it’s the catchphrase of Graham Moorby, one of Hallam’s TV module leaders. But while he might be talking about how to put together a high-quality TV package, it makes sense in a broader context as nobody wants to be at a university that condones “mute pictures”. Students can so easily become “mute pictures” without proper guidance and support from their university. So it’s good to know there’s an abundance of both at Hallam.

‘Journo’ student

Sheffield Hallam University is in the heart of the city. A twin campus, multi-building university that offers more than 700 courses to thousands of students from all corners of the world. Journalism is just one of those courses and, as I prepare for life as a third year ‘journo’ student, I sit back and realise what a great two years it has been.

Admittedly, Hallam wasn’t my first choice. I had initially applied but decided against naming it as one of my top two choices. However, things change, and I eventually chose Hallam after going through the clearing process. A choice which turned out to be a good one.

Journalism is full of variety. It is a multi-faceted job with roles from court reporting to exposing wrong-doing in organisations, and everything in between. As a result, what use would a journalism course be if it simply taught you how to write copy? Hallam recognises this. 

From day one, I realised my course was going to be about much more than just honing my writing skills. This became especially apparent in my first module, History of Journalism. In this, we explored journalism’s beginnings, the Fleet Street development, the importance of press freedom, and how journalism got to where it is today. It left me wanting to know more about why journalism operates in the way it does.

Media Law

Another core first-year module was Media Law, and I had no idea how important this subject would be. McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists will become your best friend. Trust me, it happens. Knowing media law is so important; it is how you know what you can and can’t report on. And the public interest defence could save you one day. Make sure you learn it.

While the content of the modules is crucial and hugely fulfilling, they’d be nothing without the staff who teach them. Every staff member in the journalism department has a wealth of journalistic experience, and some still work in the industry. There is no one better to teach you about the journo world than people who have been a part of it for so long. 

The staff are great. There is no other way to put it. Want a private tutorial? Get in touch with them. Need a contact for an interview? They’re like the Yellow Pages. Want work-in-progress feedback? Email your work to your tutor for advice. I could go on and on. It’s cliched, but nothing is too much trouble for the staff team. It’s refreshing knowing they have only your best interests at heart. It is that simple.

If it’s facilities you want, then facilities you get. I’m not sure what I was expecting from Hallam, but my expectations have been exceeded. Hallam boasts a state-of-the-art, six-microphone radio studio complete with all profession mod-cons. It also has its own web-based radio station – SHU Radio – which can be broadcast live throughout the day. Oh, and it comes with a tutor with a wealth of radio experience. 

Hallam also has a modern, professional TV studio. With national TV standard cameras, auto-cue, full green screen backdrop, and backstage gallery, SHU TV is another huge feather in Hallam’s cap. And both TV tutors have reported for BBC and ITV.

IT rooms

In addition, the journalism department has multiple IT rooms, and all PCs across the university feature a full Adobe suite of programmes, including Photoshop, Premier Pro, Audition, and InDesign. All this and I haven’t even mentioned the Cantor equipment store, filled with Canon video cameras, professional tripods, boom mics, and anything else you could possibly need for your degree, all waiting for you to hire out.

Now, going back to those mute pictures, my TV tutor Graham Moorby says they are unprofessional and low quality, and you miss a potentially important part of a picture if you can’t hear it. Hallam has equipped me with the skills and experience to be a full colour picture, complete with delightful ambient sound. Hallam has helped me with my writing style. It has provided me with an understanding of the industry and its background. It has helped me learn what I can and can’t do legally. It has provided me with the opportunities and confidence to roll up my sleeves and do things myself through their on-site facilities and industry placements. It has given me the support and guidance I need to be the best me I can be. And perhaps most importantly, it has instilled a deep desire to ask my own questions and make my own mark on the industry. 

Hallam would never allow me to be a mute picture.

by Josh Chapman

Find out more…

Our journalism, media and PR courses have one thing in common – they are designed to produce media professionals with attitude. Courteous, but not afraid to challenge people in authority, including those in the industry.

Sheffield Hallam’s three BA courses – Journalism; Sports Journalism; and Journalism, Media and Public Relations – will harness your enthusiasm and give you the skills to become a word-class media professional. Students can choose from a range of modules and specialisms to suit individual interests, but there are common skills running throughout such as media law, digital and social media know-how, research, and ethics.

All our courses are taught by media experts with years of hands-on experience in a range of disciplines. Our staff have worked as news and sports journalists in local and national newspapers and magazines; as TV and radio broadcasters at the BBC and ITV; as public and private sector PR practitioners; and as media research professionals. We are also academics who know how and why the media works, and we have the research records to prove it. 

Our industry-standard TV, radio and photography facilities give students on all our courses a taste of the technologies and pace of the working media world. You will have access to all the necessary specialist equipment from our on-site media store, such as cameras, microphones, and audio and video recorders. And industry-approved editing software is available in our two newsrooms. Our media and PR hubs offer dedicated spaces and technology for film screenings and group work. And the comfy sofas are great if you need a bit of chill-out time. 

Work experience is embedded into all our courses from day one. We understand how crucial real-world experience is to the development of your skills and confidence. At each level of study, you will work towards industry standards and have contact with current media professionals for guidance and support. This will enable your progression to the media workplace to be as smooth as possible.

These BAs can also be accessed through our Foundation Year/Extended Degree course. This extra year is designed to prepare students for their BA and gives a flavour of all our media subjects so they can make a more informed choice about their degree. 

Journalism, the media and public relations are changing quickly. So is Sheffield Hallam. And we’re producing graduates ready to be part of today’s professional 24/7 media world. Be part of it.